There is something special about a baby’s first cry; that amazing transition from soundless presence to noisy participation is anticipated with excitement by expectant parents. That initial cry of entry was eagerly awaited by Nicole and Chad Bourg as they headed in the operating room. Instead the parents were met with silence after the delivery of their baby.
“I knew she wasn’t crying right and I kept looking at Chad’s face and the doctors kept on going on like everything was fine but I knew something wasn’t right.”
Nicole’s mothering instincts were spot on. The Bourgs’ baby was born with Pierre Robin Syndrome, a defect that caused her lower jaw to be significantly smaller than normal, a cleft palate, and the base of her tongue to be located too far to the back of her mouth. This displacement of the base of her tongue blocked her airway and cut off her cry.
She was airlifted to Children’s Hospital in Houma, LA where she was placed under the care of Dr. Hugo St. Hilaire, a board certified surgeon in both plastic and reconstructive surgery as well as oral and maxillofacial surgery. In the days leading up to her surgery, baby Ella had a breathing tube as she waited in the NICU for the operation.
At only ten days old, she underwent an excruciating series of procedures to place a jaw implant that would be adjusted twice daily to stretch out her jaw in two directions. Prior to the surgery, the medical team utilized data gathered from CT scans to create a 3D model of Ella’s skull. They then 3D printed that model and used it to plan and prepare for the day of the surgery. In addition, custom devices were fabricated that would ensure the precision of every cut and each placed screw.
All of this meant that the surgery could be performed without damaging the jaw’s nerves or interfering with any of Ella’s teeth buds. And little by little, her jaw was stretched so that her tongue moved in to the right spot and she was able to breathe without difficulty. It was then, after 18 days of anxious waiting, that the breathing tube was removed and the Bourgs celebrated.
Ella is now enjoying her first month at home with her siblings and her parents have a new appreciation for the sound of a baby’s cry. In another month, her jaw implant will be removed and when she is a year old, she will undergo the surgery necessary to repair her cleft palate. Dr. Hilaire is very optimistic about Ella’s future and her parents are very relieved just to have her home.
Have you heard of similar uses of implants to help newborns? Join the conversation in the 3D Printed Jaw Implant forum thread over at 3DPBD.com.
You May Also Like
New TAZ Sidekick Desktop 3D Printer Released by LulzBot
LulzBot has announced the newest addition to its TAZ line of desktop 3D printers, the TAZ SideKick. The machine is available in two sizes and is designed to be highly...
3D Printing News Briefs, July 31, 2021: Student Racing and More
We’re covering a software release and new composite materials in today’s 3D Printing News Briefs, followed by 3D printing used in Formula Student racing, to make metrology components, and to...
RAPID + TCT Celebrate 30th Year with More 3D Printing Presentations, Speakers, & Exhibitors
I think it’s safe to say that last year, we all missed the industry juggernaut that is RAPID + TCT, North America’s largest, most important additive manufacturing event. But now...
Trump the Mundane Performance in Smart Printing — Creality CR-10 Smart Vanquishes with Advanced Functions
In an era that 3D printing functions seems to sit in a stereotyped mundane track, how to renovate turns to be of much importance that often draws the attention of...
View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.